Nine Quick Tips to Improve Your Health

Improving Your Health - jpegIt’s officially summer time, which means most of us have visions of sunshine, BBQs, and swimsuits (oh my!) dancing in our head. Not quite feeling swimsuit ready? You aren’t alone. According to a national survey released by the Calorie Control Council, more than 186 million American adults – or eight out of ten men and women aged 18 and older – are “weight conscious.”

We all know we need to exercise and eat right for the pounds to fall off, right? Well for many, that’s easier said than done. It’s a lifestyle change – starting small and continually incorporating healthier changes will not only be easier to accomplish, but will aid in making those changes permanent.

Here are a few simple changes you can incorporate into your lifestyle to improve your health:

  • Eat a piece of fruit before lunch: Eating something healthy before you eat your meal will take the edge off your appetite, making you less likely to indulge in a large or unhealthy lunch.
  • Switch to 100% whole grain: Avoid of enriched white foods, such as breads, pastas and rice, and switch to 100% whole grain varieties. Whole grain is filled with fiber and will keep you full. White foods can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
  • Incorporate beans and dark leafy vegetables into your day: Beans improve metabolism, control your appetite, lower cholesterol and much more. Dark leafy greens fuel your body with essential vitamins and nutrients, and are low in calories for large servings, which will keep you feeling full.
  • Track your food intake: You’d be surprised at how many calories, fat, sugar or sodium you may actually be consuming in a day. Try the many food tracking apps or websites such as MyFitnessPal, Lose It or Calorie Counter. Faith Technologies recently completed a branch wellness challenge at their corporate office that utilized the MyFitnessPal app. One participant said, “I didn’t realize some of the choices I had been making were actually bad choices.”
  • Have at least four alcohol-free days per week: Your nightly beer, glass of wine or mixed drink could be what’s stopping you from losing weight. An average beer or glass of wine is around 200 calories.
  • Switch to skim milk: An easy way to cut fat from your diet is to switch to drinking skim milk, or at least 1%. It may take a few times to get used to the taste, but try to stick to it!
  • Kick the soda habit: Avoid drinking soda, even diet soda, and opt for water instead. If you have to, take baby steps by switching from regular soda to diet, then to caffeine-free, then to water. Add extra flavor to your water with citrus slices or berries.
  • Move at least 30 minutes a day: We all know we need to exercise in order to keep our health in check, but for many of us it’s hard to find time. Try taking small exercise breaks throughout the day – such as three 10 minute breaks. Jog in place or do jumping jacks while you watch TV if you can’t miss your favorite show. Take a walk on your lunch break. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Hold a walking meeting. At Faith Technologies we started a daily walking group, and are also currently working towards the Top 100 Most Active Companies recognition where our employees are doing a great job fitting exercise into their daily routines!
  • Strive for eight hours of sleep: If you don’t get enough sleep at night, you tend to reach for the convenience foods and caffeine and are too tired for exercise. With your lack of rest, your metabolism will also not function properly.

Diving into the deep end when you’ve never swam before won’t make you learn to swim. The same goes for learning how to be healthier. If you go with the “all or nothing” approach, chances are you won’t stick with it. First you need to learn how to do it and you’ll see results as you get better.

Now… go get that swimsuit and jump right in!